The Instigator
ejh238
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
nevsurr7
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Americans are too greedy.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
ejh238
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/20/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,988 times Debate No: 21280
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)

 

ejh238

Pro

Round 1 Rules and Acceptance
Round 2 Arguments
Round 3 Rebuttals
Round 4 Second Rebuttals and Conclusions
Please dumb it down for me. I don't care much for English.
Please ensure the point you are trying to make is as clear as possible.
Pro's role is to establish that the level of greed in America is having a negative impact on our society. IE – decline in economy, welfare of children, other areas I may think of.
Con's role is to establish that the level of greed in America is not having a negative impact on our society or that greed in itself does not affect our society.
Please use the Comments section if you would like to suggest any changes to the rules , prior to accepting.
nevsurr7

Con

Alright, I will accept this debate. Should I assume that the definition of greed is "an intense or selfish desire for something (i.e. wealth, power, food, etc)? Well, either way, I am kind of excited for this.
Debate Round No. 1
ejh238

Pro

Child Care

My first argument is about having children. People have children for a few reasons. Some want children there to take care of them in old age, some do it because they have so much love to give, while others do it because they want to pass on their name. Now, I don’t count any of those as greedy. What I do think is greedy, is the timing. According to a poll conducted by mumsonline (1), 46.34% of the people had unplanned children. Thenationalcampaign.org (2) states one in two pregnancies were unplanned. So, how do people end up with a child they didn’t care to have? That’s the greedy part. People want to have sex when the action is meant for reproducing. That is defined as excessive. According to guttmacher.org (3) , seven of ten women (in reproductive age) are sexually active and do not want to become pregnant. This in itself is greedy.

Why are unplanned children bad for society, and in turn “too greedy”? According to childwelfare.gov (4), the amount of children leaving foster care in 2009 was 276,266. The median time spent in care, 13.7 months. Charlotte Weldon wrote an article (5) on what happens to children in long term foster care. Many of these children don’t move on to more productive lives. In other words, they end up living off the system, which is a drain.

Personal Items

Everyone wants to be well off, but what is well off? In order to live in our society, you need food shelter, and clothing. How many people work for just that? I’ve met two people in the Peace Corp that’s as close as you can get. I say close because they are not in it anymore. But I don’t really think of wanting more than basics as excess. What is excess? Buying more than you can afford, beyond the minimums, is what I consider excess. Americandebtadvisor.com (6) states 25% of adults owe thousands of dollars, not including car or mortgage loans. Is this due to greed?

According to a shopsmartmag.org (7) poll, women own an average of 17 pairs of shoes. In 2009, a Nielsen poll (8) states the average household has 2.86 TV’s. My wife bought clothes she will never wear. Some searching on Google shows she is far from the only one. Unfortunately I cannot get specific numbers for America, but the UK had a poll and over 90 percent of their women have clothes with a tag still on it. Along with asking several females I know, it’s safe to say the numbers are not much different in the USA. This is just a few of the many examples of people buying things they don’t need or use.

How is this bad for society? Shopping stimulates the economy, right? I’ll agree it does, but as we saw in the housing market crash, shopping too much can be a bad thing. If everything is selling like hot cakes, by using credit, what happens when people stop paying that money back? People bought things they eventually could not pay for, so creditors lost money. What happens when they lose money? They don’t accept a really low profit, they fire people. Now more people can’t pay their debts. And the credit tower comes tumbling down. The housing market is the perfect example. It affected everyone, including those that don’t own houses.

Business Greed

How many businesses are out there to make a small profit? I can’t think of any. This is in part, due to the personal greed of people mentioned above. Everyone wants their business to make more money than needed to run and keep themselves in a more than comfortable lifestyle. The only exception is non-profit organizations, which often still cater to upper management “employees”. The stock market is one of the worst cases of American greed. We buy pieces of a company in hopes it will not just make money (paying flat rate dividends), but will actually increase in value more and more. That way we can sell it and get rich quick.

Why is all of this bad? Companies have to cater to these stockholders / owners, meaning profits cannot fall. Even if they are still profitable, but their amount of profit goes down, they often fire people to make up for it or send the jobs overseas to pay people less. That ties in to personal greed, because we want more pay for the things we want. If you need an example of why people being fired in mass is bad, do some research on Detroit in the last few years.

nevsurr7

Con

Child Care
Well, regarding people being greedy due to sex, it depends on how you view humanity. The drive for sex is not because of reproduction solely. Sex is a hormonal drive. Example: Men generally feel the urge to have a sexual release about every three days. Having sex is not in and of itself selfish. Now, the very fact that the parents still had the child says that they are in fact, not greedy. They didn't leave themselves to just having their lives, and then terminate the fetus before it was given an opportunity to live. Thus, the fact that they had him/her shows a being without that greed. Sex is also an act meant for love. As people, we are able to make our decisions without as much bias as there is in the rest of the animal kingdom toward instinct. A natural response to having an overwhelming sense of love for a person is to be physically intimate.
I myself am a product of foster care. I know from personal experience the effects of it. The unplanned pregnancies and children are not in and of themselves greedy. Rather it is the system which might keep them (the children) down. These kids end up living off the system because some of them decide not to try and others simply are not able to get off the system. I agree, these people are drains, yes, but some simply cannot help it.
Personal Items
The argument you have established in this section doesn't really speak to greed as far as I can see…It seems to be pointing more to the foolishness gripping society. People spending and spending doesn't have much to do with greed but more with a lack of wisdom on their part. I spend money on things that I do not need, but I still bought my sisters necklaces. These statistics show more that America is spoiled. Because of a surplus of credit card companies who want to put people in debt, those lacking wisdom enough to say no, choose to put themselves in debt. A lack of wisdom and the excess of everything that America seems to offer makes Americans seem as though they are greedy.
Business Greed
Okay, for this topic I must say that, for the most part, I agree. However, I cannot in good conscience say that you are correct entirely. I know that my girlfriend's father's business does not try to make excessive amounts of money, as you claim businesses do. Instead he runs the business in an attempt to make sure that he can support his family. A family friend of theirs runs a business as well. They simply try to make enough to support a family. There are quite a few more people I know and/or know of who do the same. Corporations, yes, are greed machines.
My Argument
You gave a definite, all-inclusive statement. I don't count myself as too greedy. Do you believe yourself to be horribly greedy? To make such a statement makes the argument practically invalid. There are always exceptions.
Debate Round No. 2
ejh238

Pro


Child Care


I am of the belief that nature drives us. The nature of all creatures appears to be to keep their species going. I agree with your statement "Sex is a hormonal drive", but I add to that, the hormones are there because our nature is to procreate. This would only add to my argument that we are greedy because we choose to block the intent of our nature, but still have sex because of how it feels. I have not taken any psychology classes, but with what I have experienced in my life and my conversations with my fellow men, I would have to change your sentence to say 'the emotion of love comes from an overwhelming urge to be physically intimate'. At least in the beginning.


It appears you agree that the foster care system is an example of why giving children to the system is bad for society. To be more specific, many of the children do not turn out to lead productive lives. Your statement about the parents not aborting, does not really say, to me, that they are not greedy. Perhaps they have guilt that makes them not abort, or religious reasons. Either way, it is for selfish reasons they do not abort. This coincides with your definition of greedy.


Personal Items


I agree with you. Spending too much is foolish. But that's just our description of the act of buying things you don't need. Where does the desire to buy these things come from? Greed. As I defined in the comments 'greed - the excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions'.


When you say we are spoiled, I take that to mean we have easy access to everything we want. In this I agree. But this does not mean we are not greedy. To have access to something you don't need is one thing, but to take it is greedy. To take it, even though you can't afford it, is the greed that is causing the problems I mentioned earlier.


Business Greed


I cannot say how the businesses you mentioned run. But I can say this, the objective of most businesses is not what you describe. The circumstances of the business may cause it to appear to be what you suggest, but it is definitely not the objective. Things like competition, lack of customers, or lack of quality can cause a business to barely make enough to get by. But to those that don't know, it can appear they are not out to make more than they need. You're right, though, I should not have made my statement all inclusive. Though to make it a generalization would not be so far fetched.


Con's Argument


You gave a definite, all-inclusive statement. I don't count myself as too greedy. Do you believe yourself to be horribly greedy? To make such a statement makes the argument practically invalid. There are always exceptions.


If you refer to the title, you're right, but as you can see in the rules, my objective is to "establish that the level of greed in America is having a negative impact on our society. IE – decline in economy, welfare of children, other areas I may think of." The title is merely a title. And if you want to argue semantics, of a title, you'll still have to concede. Simply because you've never met someone that has nothing they don't absolutely need. Even the homeless have stuff in their shopping cart they don't need. But I'm not arguing the title, I'm arguing my objective.


In answer to your question, I find myself to be greedy in several areas. Though I wouldn't say horribly greedy, as the only debt I can't pay off, is my mortgage.


nevsurr7

Con

Child Care

In that case then, wouldn't it be tied back again to people's lack of knowledge? You cannot blame someone and hold it against them if it was done unknowingly. For example, if I had the belief that to look someone in the eye was the most insulting thing a person could possibly do, would it not be wrong of me to hold it against someone who was completely and utterly unaware? The person was not being rude…they were living as they do comfortably and because of their uninformed state they were not abiding by my own principles. Still, this does not mean they are rude. Most people believe sex is something you do when you love someone. The chemicals in the brain urge a person to let themselves go physically deeper into the relationship. During intercourse more hormones are released that tell the body it is pleasurable and good. Thus the mind is trained that sex is how a good deal of pleasure is attained. Then after two people have experienced pleasure the bond between them becomes more intense, if the experience was truly pleasurable. Americans are, therefore, not so much greedy as they are instinctive and uncontrolled in this area.
The way I see things is that the parents could have aborted and then continued on with their lives and acted as though nothing happened. They could have selfishly rejected a possible child life. In so doing, they would be truly greedy. They would be acting out of a sense of keeping their lives as they are without regard for anyone else. That is greedy. But to give a person a chance at something, that is selflessness. Knowing full well the child will be a burden on their lives, the finances, the strain the child might cause on the relationship, that is selfless. Then being placed into foster care is done because the parents hope the child might get better support from a different family. By the way, most of the children in foster care are not there because their parents gave them up, but because the parents made mistakes and had their parental rights terminated. My being placed into foster care was because the environment my biological situation set up for her family was dangerous and she was unable to break her addiction. My and my younger brothers' placement in foster care was because of addictions, negligence, and abuse, as are most of the kids in foster care. They end up not being productive members of society because their past speaks into their lives and they continue the low achievement demonstrated by their original caretakers.

Personal Items

I would say that it is not greed, for the most part. Though there may be a slight undertone of greed from the act of buying that which a person does not need, I would argue that it is more the commercialism of our society that gets us to buy such things. All the voices saying that we need it and it is the best of its kind cause a person to give in and buy. The weakness of minds and wills cause people to buy stuff that is unnecessary. This gives the impression of greed, but it is not. It is the weakness of humanity that makes us buy, buy, and buy.

Business Greed

I know the people and their businesses personally, or via one person who does know them and the entire family personally. Though I do agree that, yes, sometimes it may look like that simply because they are not pulling in much profit, I disagree that all are like so. Some, yes; others, not quite so much.

My Argument

So then, people have things they do not need. This much is true. But as for your objective, I would venture to say that it is not greed that is having a negative effect on us. The decline in the economy is not caused by greed. It is driven by irresponsibility. A lack of responsibility keeps people from paying off their credit cards and thus has an adverse effect on the economy.
Beyond that, I think that a lot of what you argue greed to be is simply desire. To want is not to be greedy per se. Greed, as you have defined, is practically uncontrollable. It is something I cannot say no to. It would rule me. Just because I want some Hershey's chocolate right now does not mean I am greedy. It means I have a desire to eat some chocolate. Just because my girlfriend and I bought a $500 tv does not mean we are greedy. It means we have a desire to be able to relax at the end of our school day. Want is not greed. Uncontrollable desire that drives one into bad decisions is greed.
Debate Round No. 3
ejh238

Pro

Unfortunately, your statement , “You cannot blame someone and hold it against them if it was done unknowingly” is completely false. Any court will tell you that, though you did not know the law existed, you will still be punished for breaking it. Ignorance is no excuse.


Sex


In your statement about sex, you seem to be saying that, because someone likes something, it’s not greedy to use it beyond its purpose. But this actually is greedy. You can be greedy and lack self control. Usually those who are greedy, also lack self control.


Abortion


You stated, “By the way, most of the children in foster care are not there because their parents gave them up, but because the parents made mistakes and had their parental rights terminated.” This proves my point. People were so greedy, they could not quit doing whatever got them in trouble (quite often, drugs). They couldn’t even do it for the child they brought into this world. That’s the most greedy in my opinion.


Personal Items


Your statement is basically temptation. Being tempted does not mean you are not greedy. Giving in to temptation, is the greed inside of you taking over.


Your Argument


You have confused the definition of greed. Greed is taking excess. Like my example about women and their shoes. To have 4 or 5 different shoes, can be counted as necessary. Running, walking, heels, and I’m sure there is a couple other purposes for shoes. But to have an average of 17 is greedy. A $500 TV is wonderful, and I would not count that as greedy, even though it is not needed. But the fact that people average 2.86 TV’s per household is greedy. My wife and I in a 3 bedroom house with no intent on having children in the house, is greedy.


I believe the country is in decline because greed and irresponsibility are working hand in hand. Greed fuels irresponsibility. It is hard to be irresponsible when you take nothing more than you need. But when you decide you have to have that million dollar mansion all to yourself, you’ve become greedy. And when you buy that mansion, despite your income, you have become irresponsible.


Conclusion


My opponent has tried to equate greed with wants and desires. But this is not the case. I contend that greed is the desire for more than you need. Please remember, I am not arguing that a single want (a TV) is greedy, it’s the 3 TV’s that are greedy. This is the basic principle in my examples.


I would like to thank everyone that votes.


I would also like to thank nevsurr7 for participating in the debate.

nevsurr7

Con

When I stated that I did not mean to imply any sort of legal constructs applied to that statement. Ignorance is only an excuse if the offense was legal and unintentional.

Sex

I mean to say that it is not greedy to use something for that which it is meant. I agree, those who are greedy often lack self-control, but just because a person lacks self-control does not mean they are greedy.

Abortion

People were not necessarily so greedy they would not stop, but because they were unable to do so because of the chemical addiction. In Nebraska if a person is found with any sort of substance abuse, even once, parental rights are immediately terminated. My mother would do anything for her kids if she could…but she was physically incompetent.

Personal Items

That is being human….making a mistake, not greed per se.

My Argument

I believe the country is in decline because of irresponsibility and general stupidity amongst the American population, not because of greed.

Conclusion

Greed is not the problem with the American population, it is a lack of responsibility.

Thank you to all who vote. Thank you, ejh238, for giving me the opportunity to debate with you.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by ejh238 5 years ago
ejh238
greed from dictionary.com is defined as - excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.
Posted by Skynet 5 years ago
Skynet
Please define:
Greed
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 1dustpelt 5 years ago
1dustpelt
ejh238nevsurr7Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made great arguments, and Con did not succesfully rebut them.